We don’t hear much about eunuchs in our day and age. I’d bet most people in my generation don’t even know what a eunuch is. So, to inform everyone, a eunuch is a man who’s had his testicles or his entire genitalia removed, a man employed by some high-ranking official, his castration done to ensure he doesn’t get distracted by sexual desires, instead focusing all of his energy on servitude.
While eunuchs were once common in societies of the Middle East and Asia, they have since virtually disappeared from the earth . . . or so we think.
If we take a step back and look at what a true eunuch really is, we might see that there are still millions of them all around us.
A eunuch is a man who cannot have normal, natural sexual relations and is called to servitude. The Apostle Paul says openly that he wishes more people were like him, not seeking to be married, remaining single for the purpose of serving the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:7).
Maybe Paul wasn’t necessarily advocating castration, but he did seem to support the lifestyle of a eunuch for God.
That makes me think a guy doesn’t need to have his balls chopped off in order to be like a modern-day eunuch. And to be a modern-day eunuch may not be such a bad thing.
Certainly, Jesus was aware of men in his day who were unable to have normal, natural sexual relations, whether they still had their cojones or not, and he didn’t think any less of them for it (Matthew 19:12). Actually, Jesus’ words in Matthew 19 were in response to his disciples saying that it might be better for a man not to marry. It seems Jesus agreed with them and picked out certain people for whom it was definitely true — people who could not have normal, natural sexual relations, whether they’d had their danglers knocked off or had simply renounced marriage for “the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus didn’t condemn these people for not being able to have sex the natural way, but instead said there was an alternative lifestyle for them: singleness and celibacy.
The horror, right?! I know!
In our day, maybe not everyone wants to get married, but nobody wants to be restricted from anything that anybody else has the freedom to partake of. With everyone running around indiscriminately humping everything like a horny poodle, the idea of vowing lifelong celibacy seems laughable. Even Christians vouch for the sanctity and innate goodness of sex, often to the point of expecting everyone to enjoy it (to the glory of God, of course), unwittingly shunning people who can’t have sex or refuse to have sex because of “the kingdom of heaven.”
But the Bible makes it very clear that marriage is not a requirement of being a good Christian — that, in fact, singleness and celibacy can make that purpose a lot easier to live day-by-day.
Now, castration is not usually practiced in our modern era, but there are still a lot of people who cannot have natural sexual relations due to their sexual orientation. While I believe homosexual attractions are a curse and not a blessing, and that they can be reversed, sometimes they just don’t go away.
Sometimes, people are attracted to the same sex and nothing ever changes for them. They may be devoted to the Lord, abide in his Spirit every day, seek to serve him and honor him with every thought, word, and action, laying everything within themselves down at his throne, trusting in him for healing and redemption, and yet still be same-sex attracted for their entire lives, absolutely not attracted whatsoever to the opposite sex.
What then? Are we to believe that these individuals are living in sin, and that’s why they still have SSA? I don’t think so.
God never said it was a sin to be attracted to the same sex, or not to be attracted to the opposite sex. Our actions based on those attractions are what might be sinful, not the attractions themselves.
However, because those SSA Christians cannot have sex as God designed it — with the opposite sex within the confines of marriage — they should not seek to have sex. I believe they should live in singleness and celibacy. I know this goes against everything that our self-indulgent culture teaches us, but it is the right way.
And I know that this can destroy the hopes of many SSA Christians who wonder if they’ll ever find the companionship, the sense of belonging, the love, and the sex that come with marriage.
But there is hope. I do not believe God has us simply lose without gaining something better in return.
Many people in the Church today are trying to cope with this sense of loss by teaching how important it is for the other members of the Body of Christ to surround those who are alone, single, and celibate, welcoming them into their homes and their lives, making them like family.
That is great! I fully support that! But there is something more that God gives us.
Take this passage from Isaiah 56:3-5:
And let not any eunuch complain, ‘I am only a dry tree.’ For this is what the Lord says: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant — to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.
To be a eunuch, we think, sounds like a curse. But eunuchs were chosen people, set apart from others to work directly under the king. The same is true today. Many same-sex attracted Christians, while some may never know what it is to be married or have sex, are nonetheless a chosen people, set apart to serve the King of Kings.
These SSA Christians are not without hope. They are given within the Lord’s temple a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters, better than marriage to any person, a name that will not be cut off.
This is God’s system, his design. There is a place for everyone at his table. Everyone has a role to play in his kingdom. Let’s not waste our time and energy bucking his plans for us and complaining about not being married or having sex. God has something so much better for us!
But the question is: are we willing to humble ourselves and submit to his design, even though it appears to cost us?
Yes, we can. And we will find joy in doing so!
At the very least, we can be glad that we get to keep our knackers.
What do you think about the concept of eunuchs in modern society? Do you believe you are or might be called to be a eunuch?
* Photo courtesy funky64, Creative Commons.